When Cloud Meets Big Data Analytics: Big Data Apps

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The Business Impact of Big Data

Many business executives want more information than ever, even though they're already drowning in it.

The hip CIO crowd (yes, apparently, they exist) says cloud and virtualization are so 2011. What's innovative and hip now are big data and mobile, according to a recent Constellation Research survey of 105 innovative CIOs.


I know. Slim pickings on that survey, it seems.


Whatever. Principal Analyst and CEO at Constellation Research R "Ray" Wang recently wrote about the survey for Forbes, noting that these innovative CIOs predict that in 2013, the most disruptive technologies will be mobile, cloud and analytics (and really, I think that jump's due to big data analytics).


Yeah, OK - cloud's still on the list, but it's dropped from 69 percent last year to 56 percent this year, which doesn't bode well for its place at the cool lunch table in 2014.


I keep trying to picture these innovative CIOs and I just keep imagining a lot of Steve Jobs clones, with the mock turtleneck and wireframe glasses and the vague facial hair that can't quite commit to a full-on beard.


Whatever they look like, I bet they're really going to like the idea of big data apps, which combines at least two of the three top disruptive technologies.


TechCrunch recently ran a piece introducing the concept of big data apps. It's written by Raj De Datta, who is the CEO and co-founder of Bloom Reach, a company that uses big data analysis to make your website more efficient (as far as I can tell). So, keep in mind that in promoting the idea of big data apps, he's also describing his company's offering, as he acknowledges by including it in his list of big data apps.


So, what is a big data app, or BDA, as the hipsters might say?


"BDAs are web-based applications that interpret and use massive amounts of enterprise and web-scale data to deliver more intelligent results for their subscribers," De Datta writes. "BDAs leverage the best of the cloud; they're web-hosted, multi-tenant and use Hadoop, noSQL and a range of recommendation and machine learning technologies."


BDAs already exist, in some forms, he says. For instance, LinkedIn is a BDA for the recruiting/talent acquisition software market. He also notes that Salesforce is moving in this direction, with its acquisition of Radian6, a social listening software company, and Jigsaw, which is for contacts.


He sees BDAs as a natural extension of the SaaS model - with the same delivery model benefits - but better because they bring in more data and analyze it for you.


"While both sell into enterprises, BDAs deliver much more value per dollar spent, because each acquired customer adds data to the engine, which in turn improves the service for all its customers," he writes.


Sometimes things like this are pure marketing, and a sure sign is how closely the described "shiny new technology" matches the writer's own marketing position.


In this case, I think he could be on to something more. I'm not saying the name BDA will catch on. Still, it's an intriguing concept and it's certainly like a plausible, even probable, fusion of two innovative trends: The capability of cloud computing and the power of big data analytics.